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Happy Pollinator Week!

pollinator-weekJune 15th – 21st, 2015 is National Pollinator Week!

As an avid gardener and wildlife enthusiast, I have a special love for our pollinator species which include bees, birds, butterflies and bats. These creatures are not only beautiful, they’re important. It is said that one in three bites of human food and drink are available because of pollinators. So while these beings are small, they actually play a huge role in human food production! Sadly, our pollinator species are declining – but there are a few things that we can do to help keep them around.

For example, I plant flowers that will attract pollinators, and I try to employ sustainable gardening practices. My respect for these creatures is often reflected in my creative work as well, which you can see from the little photo montage included with this post. The necklace and bracelet shown in that photo are from my “Pollinator Prayer” series. Each piece is unique, created with a little prayer for their survival. The intent is to celebrate our pollinators and also to educate others about their plight.

I’ll be transplanting more sunflowers out in the garden this week, and doing counts for The Great Sunflower Project. Will you consider joining me in this effort? If you don’t want to plant sunflowers or count bees, you can plant milkweed for the monarchsprovide a water source for bats, build a bug house, make a donation to the Xerces Society, or even simply stop using neonicotinoids (such as “Round Up”) in your garden. Please consider taking one small action this week to help ensure the survival of our pollinator species.

 

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Have you seen this cuff?

Beaded filigree cuffHave you seen this cuff recently? It’s a piece that I made several years back. For the past two days, my website has been flooded with direct hits searching for this image (it was moved to a different file, which is why those hits are coming back with a 404 😉 ). I’m guessing that it was posted to a beading forum or something? Can anyone tell me where? I’d just like to know why my site is blowing up!

And for what it’s worth, the image can be found here now. Feel free to share it with proper credit, and if you know why so many people are suddenly interested in this piece, please let me know!

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Mosswood Cuff

Mosswood beaded cuff © Andrea Adams 2012

My NaSeBeMo project for November 4th was this beaded cabochon cuff, which I’ve dubbed the “Mosswood Cuff”. It features a larger moss agate cab, cut by Shawn Lockheart. The cab is set in a beadwoven bezel of glass seed beads, and accented with raw emerald, faceted tiger eye and moss agate beads.

The beaded stone had been sitting in my UFO box for some time because I was undecided about whether it should be a necklace or a cuff. Last night the cuff idea won out, so I added the gemstone accent beads, stitched it down to the ultrasuede and did the edge stitching to finish it off.

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Hera’s Cuffs

Leather peacock cuff – in my Etsy shop

I’m still having loads of fun with my leather peacock feather designs. Shown here are two new leather cuff bracelets featuring carved peacock feather designs with real body feather accents. They’re embellished with vintage glass cabochons and fine seed beadwork.

The one to the left is done in an emerald green, and the overall design is a tad simpler. The one below is done in a shimmering olive green, with more elaborate shaping and beadwork. Both close with button loop closures, so they’ll stretch from about 6.5″ – 7.5″.

Hera’s Cuff – to be listed soon

There are a few more peacock designs on my work table right now. I’m excited to see how they’ll turn out. Hopefully I can squeeze in some studio time and get them finished up soon!

As with all of my peacock themed items, a portion of every sale will be donated to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance in memory of Mahala.

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Finished my BFAC project!

This is my second year participating in the Beading for a Cure project. I had all sorts of elaborate ideas, such as a beaded leather purse, an ornate headdress, or possibly another mask; but when it came down to it, I was in too much of a time crunch to be able to do any of those ideas justice. In the end, I decided to keep it simple.

The end result is the 5th bead embroidered filigree cuff in what will be a series of 6 (cause I only have one more of these filigrees left ;). I will probably continue to play with this style, since I really enjoy it … but as the components change, so will the overall look.

I really like this year’s colors — they’re sort of a mix of earthy and watery tones. To me, this blend feels playful, yet grounded. Interestingly enough, I use a lot of these colors in my work — but not typically together in the same project. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they work together

As to the shapes, I really loved the matte metallic swirly bugles — which is saying a lot, since I’m not much of a fan of bugle beads. I also really liked the Swarovski “lochrosen” (sequins, basically) that were included, but I was not as fond of the cubes or long magatamas. They were maybe just a bit too angular/odd shaped for my style of bead embroidery. Then again, I bet the geometric mathy types just ate them up! 😉


It was fun to play with colors and shapes that I might not have chosen on my own. I do wish that I’d used them in a way that pushed my limits a bit more, but again, there was that whole time crunch issue. As it stands, I’m satisfied that I was able to complete something for this special charity. I do hope it helps to generate a bit of attention and funding for this worthwhile cause!

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Adventures in Negative Space

Apparently, I’m still on a cuff kick. I’ve made a couple new ones since my last cuff post, and I have more in the works. Not that I’m cranking them out or anything. If you’ve ever done beadwork, you know — it is simply  impossible to “crank out” quality beadwork.

These are a bit simpler than my filigree cuffs. I’ve been using them to explore my aversion to negative space. To be clear, it’s not that I dislike negative space… it’s just that when I get in the beading groove, sometimes it’s hard to stop myself from filling everything up with color and texture.

So I’m consciously trying to leave some open space with these. It amuses me to notice how challenging that can be. It takes conscious effort for me not to bead every square inch of the cuff!

I suppose that I’m improving, though. This brown and green cuff is my second attempt at deliberate open space. The smaller purple & teal cuff below was my first try, and as you can see, the ends are really the only areas that leave any open space.

The one that I’m still working on is primarily open space, with just a beaded focal and edging. I like it, but I’ve got the nagging feeling that it isn’t finished. Once I complete the edging, I’ll post a picture here and on my facebook fan page. It might be interesting to see what kind of response it gets. Maybe that sense that’s it’s incomplete is just a manifestation of my compulsive desire to bead everything? 😉

 

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Bead Embroidered Filigree Cuff #4

Filigree Cuff #4

I’ve just completed the fourth cuff bracelet in this series, and I think it is my favorite thus far! Like the others, it centers around a vintage brass filigree, which is encrusted with vintage west German glass stones, Swarovski crystal, fire polish and Japanese glass seed beads. The inside of the cuff and the centerpiece are lined with periwinkle colored ultrasuede, and the outer edges of the bracelet showcase metallic bronze leather.

 The colors include matte metallic shades of peacock, olive-y bronze, purple and metallic bronze.

Filigree Cuff #3

 
I never really set out to make a “series” of these. I made the first one in 2008, at a point when I was using a lot of these old filigrees in my beadwork (I’ve also done barrettes and necklaces in this style). I really liked it, and the response from my customers was extremely positive. People started commissioning me to make them in specific color schemes.

Obviously, these are variations on a theme – but each one has a different color scheme, and utilizes a unique combination of vintage glass beads and stones from my collection. So they’re of the same family, but each has its own character.

Filigree Cuff #3

As I mentioned in my previous post, beadwork tends to be very meditative for me. As such, I often lose my sense of time when I am beading. I hadn’t been charging too much for these, because it seemed like they work up so quickly (in as much as beadwork ever works up quickly).

I made a point to log my working time on this last one, and I was quite surprised by how long it actually took! To be fair, I think #4 took longer than the others (I did quite a bit of “rippit” stitch 😉 but all the same, I realized that these pieces have a much greater time investment than I’d originally thought!

This newest variant is listed in my Etsy shop, and when I get a spare moment I will add it to my website as well.

Sadly, I only have a few more of these filigrees left, so I won’t be able to make many more of these cuffs. Bums me out, since I am really enjoying this series. I suppose that’s a good thing though – it ensures that it will be a limited edition series.

And of course, if I really want to continue with this style  after I’ve used all of the brass that I have, I can probably find some more old brass pieces. Doubt I’ll find more of the same style, so the new cuffs will have different shaping … but that’s a good thing 🙂